Nobody’s Children

  • SHAFAQ SHAH
  • Publish Date: Feb 5 2018 2:11AM
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  • Updated Date: Feb 5 2018 2:11AM
Nobody’s Children

Two baby boys at GB Pant Hospital abandoned by their parents have found a foster home. But there are many such children in Kashmir

 

“He is so greedy for mother’s love,” said Appa, running her soothing fingers through Salman’s sparse hair. He is one of the two one-year-old children she has adopted, both abandoned by their parents. The other is named Burhan.

Appa, who won’t give her real name, runs Jamia Rowzat-ul-Muminaat,( a seminary for women, at Naqashpora, Babar Shah) along with her husband, who goes by Moulvi Adnan. Around a year ago, they learnt that an Indian NGO was trying to adopt two boys at GB Pant Hospital, Srinagar, who had been abandoned by their parents. They went to and obtained a stay order preventing the NGO from adopting the children. They pleaded that they want to take the possession of the kids.  And after some hearings they got the possession of the babies in December last.  

“They said they are not mannequins, they are kids who need care, love and attention,” Appa recalls carers at GB Pant Hospital telling her. “After getting acquainted with their medical condition, my husband told me, ‘Would you be able to take care of them, they are not like normal children and my response was, ‘I am no one to take care of them. It is God who has to do it, I am just a facilitator.”

“We are not an NGO or an orphanage and this is the first time we have adopted children. By the grace of God, we will take good care of them,” said Appa, who has hired two babysitters to look after them.

Appa said she came to know about the kids couple of months ago through an acquaintance and then they along with her husband went to see them. 

“I was really pained to see these kids staying in hospital, because they are too young to stay in hospital and that is how I decided that I want to take them home. The fact that they were Muslims was a factor, but not the only factor,” said Appa. “I too have four kids and thus know how important a mother is for a kid”.

The couple, however, aren’t planning to adopt more such kids? Or give them for adoption?

“ Can a mother give her children for adoption. Yes, I am not planning to adopt more kids, but I won’t be leaving two boys as well. This a gift from God, so I have accepted them”

Carers at GB Pant Hospital are relieved that the children have finally found a home.

“For a year and a half we had couples and NGOs coming to see these children for adoption, but after finding them unhealthy they would drop the idea of adoption,” said a doctor who looked after them. “So when an Indian NGO approached us and showed willingness to take the children, we were elated. But the stay order snatched our smiles, not because the kids had become a burden on us. But because we wanted them to be in a home with foster parents and not in hospital beds.”

  Salman was brought to the hospital by the police on February 24, 2016. He had been found at the Makhdoom Sahab shrine in Srinagar. He suffers from a congenital neurological disorder called Hydrocephalus and has undergone two surgeries. 

 Hydrocephalus is the buildup of fluid in the cavities (ventricles) deep  within the brain. The excess fluid increases the size of the ventricles and puts pressure on the brain.

Burhan was found abandoned at the hospital on August 11 last year. He had been adopted by a couple from the hospital authorities only to be returned the following day. Burhan suffers from hypoxemia, a condition that results from an abnormally low level of oxygen in the blood, which has affected his brain.

Salman is still not keeping well, “I am having him treated at SKIMS,” said Appa.

Since 2016, Lal Ded Hospital and GB Pant Hospital alone have received at least 16 abandoned children. On January 24, a boy and two baby girls were found abandoned at GB Pant Hospital within a span of two weeks. The boy was found behind the blood bank. “We heard dogs barking and when we opened the window we saw them biting a baby,” said a nurse who has been taking care of him. “We immediately understood that he had been abandoned and we started his treatment.

As for the baby girls, one was found on the ramp near the Neo-natal care unit while the other had been dropped in a corridor in the dead of the night.

“They are mostly children who are born out of wedlock, this is what we could guess, and not all are disabled,” said the medical superintendent of Lal Ded hospital Dr Nazir Malik.

The childless couples adopt the babies. “They get an order from the Chief Judicial Magistrate and then we give the baby to them,” Dr Malik said.

The government has no policy for such kids.  The hospital authorities contact social welfare department for help, but they categorically deny having such policy for abandoned neonates.

“God must have plans for these children but unfortunately their parents did not understand that and threw them away,” said Appa. “Abandoning kids shows the lack of faith in God. Faith is trusting God even when you don’t understand his plans.”